Located close to the waterfront in Tribeca, we’re more than familiar with the many attractions available to New Yorkers and visitors alike just offshore of the island of Manhattan. A perennial favorite is the fascinating, historic Ellis Island, opened in 1892 and the point of entry to the United States for more than  12 million immigrants. But we have a secret: don’t just see the island like everyone else. Do the little-known hard hat tour of Ellis Island for a truly insider experience.

The Ferry Ride

Tickets to the Hard Hat Tour of Ellis Island include ferry tickets from New Jersey and Manhattan departure points—the latter of which make this an easy experience for Duane Street Hotel guests. The complimentary ride across the water provides stellar views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan.

The Exclusive Access

The Hard Hat Tour gives you an exclusive look at Ellis Island that goes deeper than your general immigration exhibits. With this one, you also get to see closed-off areas of the famous Ellis Island hospital, once the largest public health service facility in the country, and now under restoration. Another tour highlight is the unrestored Laundry Building.

The Art Exhibit

This tour also includes exclusive access to an art exhibit that’s on display on Ellis Island. Unframed – Ellis Island is a work by critically-acclaimed French artist JR. His inventive and sometimes haunting installations are set up on 16 different interior walls of the Ellis Island Hospital Complex.

The Info History

Going to Ellis Island is a learning experience no matter what, but doing so with the Hard Hat Tour of Ellis Island means you have an expert leading you around, sharing information that’s not found on the museum placards. Trust us, it’s worth it.

The Best Pics

You can’t bring a tripod or lighting equipment on the tour—this is a construction site, after all—but you’re more than welcome to take photos with your phone or camera. And since you’ll be in closed-off areas with a small group, you’re sure to find the best angles around.